Category: Tom’s Blog

Bar Leather Apron

It’s been over a year since I wrote a post on this blog. Does anyone still read it?

If you haven’t heard, my latest entrepreneurial project is a cocktail bar that I am opening with my good friend and now business partner Justin Park, who happens to be Hawaii’s top bartender. For more info, check out this article in Honolulu Magazine here: A NEW KIND OF BAR.

We’re looking to open to the public on January 11, 2016 so please check us out! BAR LEATHER APRON

Categories: Tom's Blog

Waikiki, Downtown

November 11, 2014

Alden Shoe – LS10 (LSW & LSDT)

10 years ago I followed my entrepreneurial dream and opened Leather Soul. Alden Shoe Company has been a focal point of my business from day 1. My first ever Leather Soul x Alden makeup was a plain toe blucher on the Leydon last with a storm welt and double leather sole. I offered it in cigar and black shell cordovan, later in color #8.

To commemorate my 10 year Anniversary I made that exact same shoe I made in 2004 but this time in ravello shell cordovan. Maybe for my 20th Anniversary I can offer it in whiskey shell cordovan?

Mahalo to everyone who supported me through this journey. I truly appreciate your aloha.

(At the time of this post, these shoes are SOLD OUT and unavailable for order.)

Categories: Tom's Blog

Waikiki & Beverly Hills

October 3, 2014

My Visit to Horween

On October 1st, 2014 I had the pleasure of visiting the Horween tannery in Chicago. It was truly an awe inspiring experience. To see first hand the entire process of creating a shell cordovan piece was simply incredible. The amount of work and detail involved in each shell is something you will never understand unless you visit the tannery. It has given me a greater appreciation of shell cordovan than I’ve ever had.

Mahalo to everyone at the Horween tannery, especially Nick Horween, for your hospitality and time.

(If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section and I will try my best to answer them.)

Categories: Tom's Blog

Waikiki, Downtown

August 15, 2014

Tom’s Favorites – Izakaya Torae Torae

I first met Chef Hide Yoshimoto when he was brought in by my friend Kevin Aoki to revamp the first Doraku Sushi restaurant, our neighbor in the Royal Hawaiian Center. Hide brought a fresh and radical way of creating modern Japanese cuisine to Doraku.

Fast forward a few years and Chef Hide has opened his own izakaya on McCully Street at Young Street. At Izakaya Torae Torae (pronounced To-Rray To-Rray), Hide continues to offer out-of-the-box, but amazingly flavorful and fresh Japanese dishes to his loyal fans.

Tom’s Tip: If it’s not too busy, ask Chef Hide to make you his special Dashimaki Tamago w/Unagi and Cheese. It’s not on the menu but Chef Hide will make it for you if he is not too busy. It’s simply amazing.

Izakaya Torae Torae
1111 McCully Street
Honolulu, HI 96826

Categories: Tom's Blog

Waikiki & Beverly Hills

November 15, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – Vintage Cave

EDIT: Chef Kajioka has left Vintage Cave as of July 2014. At this time, he is looking to open his own restaurant in Hawaii.

“It doesn’t matter how much it costs, even if it’s $10 million or $100 million…”

Those are the words of Mr. Takeshi Sekiguchi, the self-described crazy Japanese real estate developer who has single handedly changed the dining scene in Hawaii through the opening of his $20 million Vintage Cave.

Mr. Sekiguchi put his trust, and a signed blank check book, in the hands of my fellow Iolani School grad, Chris Kajioka. Now at the ripe old age of 30, Chris is the head chef of the top restaurant in the State of Hawaii. After making his mark on the mainland at Per Se and Willows Inn, Chris is now responsible for the wonders of amazement that diners are now able to experience here in Hawaii.

Chris, you are the man.

Tom’s Tip: No tip needed, if you are lucky enough to get a reservation, do it.

Vintage Cave
1450 Ala Moana Blvd. #2250
Honolulu, HI 96814


Categories: Tom's Blog


November 4, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – The Manifest

The “Old Fashioned” is my favorite cocktail. Sugar, bitters, and bourbon equals happiness in my book.

My favorite Old Fashioned in Hawaii is made by my friend Justin Park at the Manifest. Justin is a partner owner of the Manifest and one of Hawaii’s most celebrated mixologists. He has competed and won at many national competitions and after trying his cocktails it’s no secret why he has so much acclaim.

The Manifest itself is an amazing space and concept. Once you step inside you forget where you are. I always love spaces like that, where you can escape from your everyday reality, even if just for a moment.

Tom’s Tip: Try the Shoedaddy downtown crawl. Start at the Manifest for a few Old Fashioned, grab a “Sweet Bangkok” at Bar 35, a few beers and a slice at JJ Dolan’s, then finish with pho from The Pig and the Lady (when they open shortly in Downtown).

The Manifest
32 North Hotel Street
Honolulu, HI 96817

Categories: Tom's Blog

Waikiki & Beverly Hills

August 5, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – Ono Seafood

Poke, or Hawaiian style marinated raw fish, is one of my favorite foods and nobody does it better than Ono Seafood in Honolulu. Not to be confused with Ono Hawaiian Foods which is confusingly right across the street, Ono Seafood features the freshest ahi (tuna) and tako (octopus) poke in Honolulu.

Tom’s Tip: Get your poke bowl as a combination. Try the shoyu ahi and spicy ahi together for a perfect blend of salty, sweet, spicy, and creamy. It’ll make your taste buds go crazy, in a good way!

Ono Seafood
747 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816

Categories: Tom's Blog

Waikiki & Beverly Hills

April 11, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – 12th Ave Grill

12th Avenue Grill in Kaimuki is a well known hidden gem, if that makes any sense. It’s a true “neighborhood restaurant” that serves good tasting food, focusing on local ingredients and big flavors.

Mike, the manager/mixologist, is the true star of the restaurant in my opinion. Although the food is great, Mike’s cocktails are true bliss. Tell him Tom from Leather Soul sent you.

Tom’s Tip: Ask Mike for the “Benson.” It’s a secret drink named after a friend of mine.

12th Ave Grill
1145 12th Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816

Categories: Tom's Blog